Life As You Know It is Ending
We are all always in transition moving from yesterday into today, today into tomorrow. For many of us nearing the end of a year that has presented challenges for us to be more conscious and creative, take care of ourselves, and help others more than usual, life as we know it will never be the same.
But isn’t that the way it always is? We’d like to think we have a normal, that who we are and what we do can be neatly defined and counted on…as if today could tell us anything about tomorrow. We cling to these definitions of self: what we do each day, where we live, the route we take home, and who we’ll find there. What we don’t like to think about is the very real fact that everything can turn on a dime. It happens all the time. It has happened recently for many of us.
So who are we without the assurance of a life of normalcy? An understanding that tomorrow won’t be that different from today? How can we cope knowing that beyond our control, things change?
Transitions like these are hard. Losing something we hold dear means we also lose a sense of who we are and where we belong. We won’t go to the same places, see those familiar faces, nor do the things we once loved to do and that can make us feel afraid. And that’s because we attach our identity (how we view ourselves) to things we experience on a regular basis.
I remember giving up coffee and thinking, OMG, what about my collection of coffee mugs? I know that seems silly, but every mug was hand-picked by me for its unique character and I suppose they reflect part of who I am, (or was as a coffee drinker). Drinking water from them just isn’t the same 🙁
I know that’s a pretty small example, but if given the choice, most of us prefer a concrete definition of who we are, not one that’s always changing. When we’re confident with our life, decision-making is easier. We know which words and actions support the self we’ve come to know and trust.
But sometimes we cling too tightly to a narrowly defined identity, i.e….who we think we are based on external things and circumstances.
And sometimes that definition doesn’t leave room for us to be more, to reach our highest potential. It’s possible that what you have been doing and being is only a stepping stone to something even greater. If you cling too tightly to how you define yourself, then when life is ready for you to take on new roles, you’ll feel resistance, that feeling of not wanting things to change or end. And that resistance, if we allow it to linger, will cause us a lot of pain. Things that resist the pull of change eventually snap or break. That is a law of nature, for which we aren’t exempt.
On the other hand, acceptance creates flexibility.
In the midst of transition acceptance allows life to show you glimpses of what’s next – a little teaser, if you will. When we feel the call to change, we have to be ready and willing for life to move us in a new direction. When we allow transition, we must bravely face the question, “who am I?” Transitions invite latent, unknown aspects of the self to emerge. It’s going to take time for us to get comfortable with who we are becoming. We have to trust our Self and believe in the big picture we can’t always see.
In middle school, I remember learning that even the Earth is constantly moving and shifting. If something we perceive as permanent as our planet is constantly changing, then why should our lives be any different? Circumstances never stay the same and neither do we. We can’t count on the external world to define us; it’s too unpredictable. It changes constantly. So we must, in the midst of transition, dig deeper to find the fundamental “I am,” the essence of who we are without all the trappings, without the coffee mugs.
You are more than you currently imagine!
Mantra for today: I’m grateful for my willingness and ability to acknowledge the greater potential and larger purpose of my life unfolding…even as another part of me fades into the background. I am always becoming who I am meant to be.
Tell me about your biggest transitions? What have they meant for you?